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February 22, 2024
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No silver bullet to fix deepfake issue; regulations, industry collaborations needed: Nasscom

New Delhi: Tackling the deepfake issue will require regulations and close industry collaboration as there is no silver bullet for it, Nasscom Chairperson Rajesh Nambiar has said, terming it a “real concern”, especially in a year when several countries are going for polls.

In an interview with PTI, the Nasscom chief also talked about continued concerns over macro headwinds while pointing out that “green shoots” and “clear pockets” of demand emerging in areas like generative AI.

Highlighting that technology has moved from being an enabler to being at the centre of every business, Nambiar, who is also chairman and managing director of Cognizant India, said companies will have no choice but to invest in technology going forward. Nambiar, who took over as the chairperson of apex IT industry body Nasscom in September 2023, termed deepfakes “a real concern”.

“Deepfakes are a real concern, especially when you look at half of the world’s population going into elections in 2024. That is a big number, it is not just in India, not just in the US, there are many countries that are going into elections,” he pointed out.

The comment assumes significance as polls are scheduled in nearly 60 nations and regions across the world in 2024, including the world’s largest democracies — India and the US.

Nambiar said that many counter-technologies are being developed to curb the deepfake menace and asserted that regulations will be important. “I wish there was a silver bullet for this. Today, we don’t have a silver bullet for it. It is something that will have to be tackled by all stakeholders. “The government will have to come up with certain regulations which can be part of the Digital India Act or otherwise…there needs to be the participation of the industry saying is there a way to track it down and then make sure that we put some watermarks…all those are the things being discussed. But today, we don’t have a solution, which will address all of this,” he said.

On the demand environment for the Indian tech industry, the Nasscom chairman said there are still a lot of concerns around macro headwinds. “These macro uncertainties are also resulting in delayed decision-making by customers around the world. What this delayed decision-making does is that it obviously postpones things to the next quarter and so on. You find that projects take longer for fruition. You also find that there is a certain delay in discretionary spending,” he said.

That said, the industry is “seeing a lot of green shoots” and “clear pockets” of projects in generative AI (Artificial Intelligence), and engineering, research & development (ER&D), among others. “Business process management is growing as well. And then there is the whole area of global capability centres, which have really taken off,” he said, adding that in these specific pockets, growth has been robust.

Asked about the IT budget spending in 2024, he noted that technology has become a “strategic imperative” for companies, not only for tech players but businesses all across. “Tech used to be an enabler, but today, if you look at the broad industry base, tech is at the core of everything people do, slowly moving from being an enabler to being central to everyone’s business. So, there is no choice but to have higher spending on technology as we move forward, and that is good news,” he said.

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